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Mil Med. 2014 Mar;179(3):273-8. doi: 10.7205/MILMED-D-13-00076.

A survey of perceived barriers and attitudes toward mental health care among OEF/OIF veterans at VA outpatient mental health clinics.

Author information

  • 1South Texas Veterans Health Care System, Mental Health Outpatient Services, 5788 Eckhert Road 116A1, San Antonio, TX 78240.
  • 2Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of Texas Health Science Center, 7400 Merton Minter Boulevard, San Antonio, TX 78229-4404.
  • 3Puget Sound Health Care System, Deployment Health Clinic (S-116), Seattle, WA 98108.
  • 4Institute for Integration of Medicine and Science, PBRN Resource Center, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, 7400 Merton Minter Boulevard, San Antonio, TX 78229-4404.



In an effort to improve our understanding of perceived treatment barriers among veterans of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom (OEF/OIF) relative to other era veterans, the current study examined veteran attitudes and beliefs about mental health treatment and treatment-seeking, and perceived patient and institution-level logistical barriers to care.


A survey was conducted among 434 Combat veterans seeking care in nine Veterans Affairs mental health care outpatient clinics.


When compared to Vietnam and Gulf War veterans, OEF/OIF veterans were significantly more likely to endorse negative treatment attitudes as possible barriers to care. OEF/OIF veterans were also more likely than Vietnam veterans to endorse conflicting work demands as a potential barrier, although this was the only logistical barrier for which OEF/OIF veterans' responses differed significantly from those of veterans of other eras. Among OEF/OIF veterans, older veterans were more likely than younger veterans to endorse barriers related to cost and time commitments.


These findings suggest an important role for outreach and engagement strategies that address attitudinal barriers to treatment utilization among veteran populations.

Reprint & Copyright © 2014 Association of Military Surgeons of the U.S.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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